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·      Partners to collaborate on new initiatives fostering gender equity for soccer benefiting thousands of women and girls

BMO, Canada’s Bank of Soccer, has joined Ontario Soccer as its newest Premier Partner. This newly
formed partnership will focus on enhancing gender equity within soccer and jointly embrace the goal of helping to create systemic change to empower self-identified girls and women at all levels of the sport.

“As the Bank of Soccer, BMO has invested in programming at all levels for decades and is committed to growing the game and making progress towards gender equity in soccer and beyond,” said Catherine Roche, Chief Marketing Officer, BMO Financial Group. “Our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good, in business and life includes our commitment to an inclusive society and drives us to partner with leading organizations like Ontario Soccer to expand on programs that tackle barriers to inclusion.”

With this partnership, BMO will support more than 100,000 girls in Ontario and be Lead Partner of Ontario Soccer’s gender equity and empowerment initiatives, including:

·       The new Grow the Game, Grow the Good Women’s Jr. Leadership Program

·       Over 150 coaches and sport leaders with access to an important “Keeping Girls in Sport” online
training module designed to enable leaders working with girls to create a safer, more positive and inclusive environment for all.

·       As well as in-person training, coaching development, leadership festivals and learning opportunities.

All programs will welcome interested self-identified girls and women as active participants and blaze a trail of new leadership development opportunities, while making gender equity a cornerstone of the soccer community, where Everyone is Welcome.

Closely aligning with both BMO’s Purpose and Ontario Soccer’s vision of making the game of soccer both equitable and accessible to all, the program will support underrepresented groups of self-identified women and girls from BIPOC, Indigenous and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, in an effort to level the
playing field. 

“We are elated to welcome BMO to our Ontario Soccer partner family,” stated Johnny Misley, Ontario Soccer’s Chief Executive Officer. “We both share the unwavering belief that sport has the power to unite families, communities, and the nation as a whole and we are deeply grateful to BMO for its commitment
to help Ontario Soccer members grow the game with diversity, inclusivity and equity as priorities.”

“Ontario Soccer, as the engine room of soccer in Canada, represents over 40 per cent of grassroots
soccer players across our great country. Our soccer community is also proud of the fact that over 60 per cent of our Women’s National Team and over 70 per cent of our Men’s National Team are “Made in Ontario”.  Through this diverse soccer ecosystem of over 1 million Ontarians, almost half of which are self-identified girls and women, we are uniquely positioned to help our partner BMO to bring their Purpose to life.” Misley added.

Ontario Soccer is the largest Provincial Soccer Governing Body in the country with its over 550 Clubs
and 18 District member organizations. BMO has a proud history of supporting soccer at the grassroots community level and was the first major bank to invest in soccer sponsorship in Canada at all levels, committing over $25 million to growing the game since 2005.

For more information on these initiatives please visit Ontario Soccer at www.ontariosoccer.net.